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This is the fourth in a five-part series on investing for beginners. If you’ve just joined us on the journey to financial well-being, we suggest checking out the first, second and third parts before diving into this one. In this post, we’re going to discuss how you should begin investing.

This is usually the most difficult step for new investors, actually taking the plunge into the world of stocks, bonds and mutual funds. If you’ve got the right mind-set and done a little preparation, though, there’s really nothing to it!

Here’s a step-wise breakdown of what you should do at this stage:

DO YOUR HOMEWORK

With the availability of data both online and offline, lack of knowledge should not hold you back. Learn about how different investments work, their associated benefits and risks, rate of returns they offer and how other investors leverage them for financial growth. Arm yourself with information, and half the battle is won.

PERFORM GOAL ANALYSIS

By now, you should be clear about your financial goals, both in the short term and long term. But you also need to analyse these goals from the viewpoint of allocating investments most effectively. Consider how much each goal will cost, how long you can wait to achieve it, and which ones take priority over the others.

WORK ON BUILDING DISCIPLINE

All successful investors share one important trait, and it isn’t financial know-how. Knowing your stuff definitely helps, but a disciplined approach to spending, saving and investing is far more crucial. If you really want tangible results, get used to setting yourself a monthly investment budget and sticking to it.

PRACTICE DUE DILIGENCE

Before you start putting money into the market, explore your options thoroughly and carefully. It helps to adopt a cautious approach while dealing with investments, especially when you first start. Pay attention to fine print and other details, and fill out paperwork correctly to avoid unpleasant surprises down the line.

JUST GET STARTED

You could spend years learning about the ins and outs of investing, but time is of the essence. Unless you’re planning to do nothing else all your life, don’t waste too much time studying the intricacies of each investment option out there. You’ll learn as you go, so give your money more time to grow by starting somewhere right now. Even if you start small, make that first move without delay. This way, not only will you have time on your side, but you will also gain the first boost of confidence that’s so critical for investing success!

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